‘Heartbroken’: Family members remember Vancouver Starbucks stabbing victim Paul Schmidt

Click to play video: 'Parents of Paul Schmidt visit his memorial'
Parents of Paul Schmidt visit his memorial
An emotional night in downtown Vancouver as the parents of Paul Schmidt visit his memorial outside the Starbucks where he was stabbed to death. Christa Dao reports – Mar 29, 2023

Messages of love, disbelief and heartbreak are pouring in for Paul Schmidt, the 37-year-old man who was fatally stabbed outside a Vancouver Starbucks on Sunday afternoon.

Schmidt’s sister took to social media Monday to express that she is “angry, heartbroken, grieving and confused” about what happened.

In the post, Schmidt’s sister, Jessica, urges people not to watch the graphic videos circulating online that show the fatal stabbing and to implore people to speak to the police if they were in the area and saw anything.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver police asking for witnesses to Starbucks fatal stabbing'
Vancouver police asking for witnesses to Starbucks fatal stabbing
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Schmidt’s mother, Kathy, told Global News he was at Starbucks with his wife and his young daughter.

“Paul lived for his wife and his daughter… that was his whole life,” Kathy told Global News over the phone Monday.

A GoFundMe has now also been set up to help Schmidt’s family deal with their loss.

Click to play video: 'Man charged in fatal stabbing of Paul Stanley Schmidt at a Starbucks during a busy peak time with tourists watching'
Man charged in fatal stabbing of Paul Stanley Schmidt at a Starbucks during a busy peak time with tourists watching

Schmidt, 37, was stabbed outside the café at the corner of Granville and West Pender streets around 5:40 p.m. following a “brief altercation,” according to police.

He was rushed to the hospital, but he did not survive his injuries.

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Click to play video: 'Murder charge laid after man stabbed outside Vancouver Starbucks dies'
Murder charge laid after man stabbed outside Vancouver Starbucks dies

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Tuesday that what happened outside Starbucks was “absolutely horrific.

“I don’t think there are words that can describe just how terrible and just horrible what happened — it is awful,” he said. “This is an issue that we’ve seen here in British Columbia, in Vancouver. This is a nationwide issue. We saw a similar tragedy happen in Toronto on the weekend.”

Sixteen-year-old Gabriel Magalhaes was heading home after spending time at the Eaton Centre with friends on Saturday when he was fatally stabbed at a subway station in what Toronto police have said was an “unprovoked” attack.

A 22-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested and is facing charges of first-degree murder.

Farnworth said the increase in violent incidents across the country was a topic of discussion at the recent federal-provincial-territorial ministers’ meeting where they are pushing for changes in terms of the Criminal Code and expanding the offences to include stabbings, where the burden of proof will be on the accused, not the prosecution.

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“The monies that we have put into the budget to get special teams to deal with violent offenders, that’s there, that work is underway,” Farnworth said.

“The police are doing everything that they can. What I hope now is that the individual, who is obviously in custody, will face criminal charges. I understand second-degree murder is what has been charged, and if they’re found guilty, I hope they’re put away for a long time.”

The suspect, 32-year-old Inderdeep Singh Gosal, was arrested at the scene, and has since been charged with second-degree murder.

On Tuesday, the Canadian government announced it is providing new funding of $46.2 billion for provinces and territories to help everyone access timely, equitable mental health and substance use services.

In addition, the government announced that as of Nov. 30, Canadians will be able to call or text 988 at any time to access immediate suicide prevention and mental health crisis support.

Farnworth said Tuesday he hoped to see more resources in the federal budget put towards the Guns and Gangs program.

“All the provinces were united in asking for that program to continue so we can get those resources to assist in dealing with the challenges that we’ve got, particularly in violent crime here in British Columbia and, in fact, right across the country,” Farnworth said.

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However, the federal budget makes no mention of further funding for the program.

Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison said police are appealing for more witnesses and video to help them determine a motive in the killing.

“There’s a significant amount of evidence to tell us what happened. What we are focusing on now is why did this happen. What are the events that transpired in the moments leading up to this very serious crime … and that’s something that may take some time for us to fully understand,” he said.

“We believe there are people likely nearby, people who witnessed it, people who were in the area who can help us to understand those questions.”

Police don’t believe the two men knew each other, and Addison said the circumstances leading up to the stabbing remain under investigation.

He added that there is a video of the incident circulating on social media, and appealed to the public not to share it further.

“It’s graphic video. We are encouraging people not to share that video. We are encouraging people, if you’ve got video, if you are a bystander, if you are a witness, please come forward and speak to our investigators, provide it to our investigators,” he said.

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Schmidt’s death is Vancouver’s sixth homicide of the year.

Anyone with information or anyone needing support is asked to contact Vancouver police at 604-717-2500.

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